Bromleys craft front-lawn rink for winter - Jan. 17, 2019
BY DENNY SCOTT
For the last two years, the Bromleys of Blyth have been building an ice rink next to their Hamilton Street residence to bring skating close to home.
Shawn Bromley explained that his son, Murray, was already skating and he and his wife Lisa were just starting to broach skating with their daughter June, so the timing made sense.
“Little kids don’t necessarily have attention or durability to do anything like skating for lengths of time,” he said. “We were looking at skating lessons, but then thought, why not build a rink?”
He said that investing in skating lessons that his children may not be interested in didn’t really appeal to the family, so it made sense to try and do it at home. With a home rink, the children can skate when they want to without Shawn or Lisa having to worry about scheduling lessons or travelling.
“Murray likes skating and he likes hockey,” Shawn said. “We just kind of went from there, because we figured it would be easier to have the rink right beside the house than travel.”
The Bromleys bought a small strip of land beside their house a number of years ago, which ended up being a nearly perfect home for the rink.
“I just looked up online how to make a rink,” he said. “My father helped quite a bit with setting it up.”
Shawn, having grown up with a rink beside his house, figured that they could manage building the rink from there.
“It’s putting water outside when it’s cold,” he said. “It’s not rocket science.”
That sentiment doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a bit of a learning curve, Shawn said. While he originally thought the plot he had chosen for the rink was more or less flat, he discovered, with his first rink, that there was a grade to the lot. At the end of the first year, he had nearly a foot of ice at one end of the rink and less than half a foot at the other, due to the grade.
“That one end didn’t thaw until April,” he said.
The 2017/2018 winter season was an ideal one for the family’s first rink, Shawn said, as the cold weather set in and stayed for a few months.
“We had ice at the beginning of December right through to the end of February,” he said. “There were a couple times it got mild and we had to build up the ice, but for the most part we had a rink for three months.”
He said this year won’t be as lucky, as December wasn’t very cold.
“We’ll be lucky if we get a month out of it,” he said.